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Tehanu's Second Trip to Hobbiton NZ Exclusives

NZ Exclusive Listing
 NZ Exclusive home
 The Jafas Have Landed
 Tehanu's Second Trip to Hobbiton
 Tehanu Goes to the Auditions!
 Non-Industrial Light and Magic
 Hobbiton in Spring
 WETA Closeup for Technophiles
 Waltzing Around Wellington
 Tehanu’s set visit: Hobbiton
 The Y2000 Mordor Walk
 Last Alliance Set Report
 Looking for Weathertop
 Shadowfax and Other Famous Horses
 One Year of Filming
 Kiwis in Middle-earth
  more coming soon

How many of you wish you could be us, right here in NZ, charging around the countryside looking for LOTR sets? What excellent fun! Why isn’t everyone doing it?

Barrow Downs Mist
Barrowdownmist.jpg (25k)

A walk in the NZ bush could change your mind about that pretty fast. Our second trip to Hobbiton was like Scott’s trip to the South Pole, in that a lot of effort was expended for minimal result. I’m thinking here more of the expedition Scott sent to collect Emperor Penguin eggs in midwinter. (Emperor penguins lay their eggs in winter so they can huddle on them all winter, a fat feathery insulating mass occupying an ecological niche that no-one else wants.) After weeks of dragging sleds through perpetual Polar darkness in minus-60-degree blizzards, the party was able to collect some eggs, which turned out to have little scientific value.

Hobbtion Earthworks 1
HobbitonEarthworks1.jpg (28k)

We started out under more promising condtions: fine sunny day, etc. and a mere 2 or 3 miles to walk, maybe 400 metres of climbing. We had maps, compass, and a good idea of where Hobbiton was, so off we went, Cameraman and I.

As we climbed, we laughed about those poor slobs who thought that waiting in a line for days to see ‘The Phantom Menace" was "really living." But no, this was life! This was commitment to a cause!

Hobbtion Earthworks 2
hobbitonearthworks2.jpg (33k)

This was almost trackless bush: Goats and pigs make tracks, but you can’t rely on them to be heading for Hobbiton. Still we enjoyed ourselves, the birds were singing, the bush was pretty…but full of supplejack. Supplejack is a vine that grows at ankle and neck height, and is usually concealed by fallen fern-fronds. We felt like ants climbing through knitting.

Hobbtion Earthworks 3
hobbitonearthworks3.jpg (40k)

It was easy enough to keep our bearings by the sun, but curiously, no matter how often we checked, we had always gone off course! As we avoided the supplejack, our journey started to resemble the hobbits’ attempts to get out of the Old Forest. The contours meandered like nothing on the map, the worst deadfalls and tangles always barred us from the line we needed to travel, ridges and gullies impeded us. Anything we grabbed hold of or stood on, even huge logs, crumbled to dust at our touch; conversely, tiny stringy bits of tangly vine would prove unbreakable. After a few hours of this, we didn’t care where we were, just so long as it was out of the forest. I must give Cameraman credit for his unfailing good spirits. Not too many people would have managed it.

So it was a bit of a bad hair day by the time we got out the other side of the bush, but we were not too far from where something was being built. Merely a kilometre or so, a bit less than a mile, across open fields. We looked at it through the telephoto, and felt totally underwhelmed. A road leading to a bare levelled patch of dirt with a few cars and shipping containers parked on it. Great.

Matamata BarrowDowns
matamatabarrowdowns.jpg (19k)

We took a few photos (see for yourselves) and waited for somebody to do something more interesting than drive in or out. We left pretty soon; because we refused to go in the forest again we had to walk home the long way, it was about a zillion miles. Fun day overall, though. If you want to have a go at doing this, once something actually gets built out there, let us know.

While we're in the Shire, we'll include these very fine photos sent to us by CAMERAMAN, who took these pictures of a foggy morning overlooking Matamata (just north of Hobbiton) They reminded us of the barrow-downs in the mist.

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